I love raptors!  I think by watching other nests we can compare and contrast what we see in order to gain a better overall understanding of raptors. There are many nest cams out there, I can’t watch them all, but I welcome highlights from other cams!

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7/15/16 – Yes, we are in a new month and I am still using the same page…I have decided to re-arrange things again, but that won’t happen for a while yet, and my posts have been coming more slowly now as I try to catch up on some work, so here is a brief update on the drama at the Cathedral of Learning.

C1 stopped in for a visit today! She was looking fine, healthy and tall! Of course, she announced her visit first with her voice, begging loudly and apparently harassing Terzo into the scrape! After apparently giving up on some food, C1 finally makes her appearance and explores the scrape (hit play) before heading back out into the world.

Also, Hope and Terzo continue to claim the Cathedral as their own, and I would not expect a challenge at this point in the year, as sexual hormones have diminished in their system, ovaries and testes have shrunken, and the birds are at their most ‘relaxed’ socially. However, I can also assure you that none of the events we witnessed over the past year were unheard of or undocumented, and I will write more on that soon.

C1 visits the scrape on 7/15/16
C1 visits the scrape on 7/15/16
C1 visits her corner on 7/15/16
C1 visits her corner on 7/15/16
C1 examines the gravel on 7/15/16
C1 examines the gravel on 7/15/16

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6/23/16 – Announcing the winner of the Best Drama on a Nest Cam for 2016…The Cathedral of Learning!

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e7/Cathedral_of_Learning_-_Pittsburgh_Festival_of_Lights.jpg
Photo from Wikipedia.org

Wow, I spent a few days with the other nest cams turned off so I could get some other work done on my computer and I missed a lot! To make matters worse, I decided this morning to focus on other work and not check the nest cams at all!

So, here is a quick run down of recent events, on June 21 at 5:36 Hope was seen chasing Magnum out of the scrape. Hope hung around for a while, Terzo stopped in later, then Hope returned again one more time for a while, then nothing for hours. In the evening Terzo and then Magnum are in the scrape. The next day, Magnum returned, and later she and Terzo were back courting in the scrape. Now we think that Hope is gone and Magnum takes over at the CoL. Magnum is 6 years old and hatched in Canton, OH, and she is related to Erie and E2.

Terzo arrived at the CoL around March 23 2016, he was hatched in Cincinnati in 2013. Terzo replaced E2, who died suddenly during Hope’s egg-laying. Despite the upheaval the eggs did hatch, but then when the second egg hatched viewers were shocked at its demise. The remaining two chicks met a similar fate. And less than 8 months ago Hope replaced Dorothy, the long-standing Monarch of the Cathedral.

So now you understand…Best Drama on a Nest Cam!

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6/16/16 – Well, C1 finally fledged on 6/13, at 45 days of age. Her last day at the scrape C1 seemed restless, moving about the nest box, in and out of the nest box, then later napping in the nest box. At 19:18 C1’s begging calls are heard from off cam and the the sounds of an adult calling and what sounds like flying around the building. This went on for several minutes. Then C1 was seen over the nest box on the still cam about 19:24, just her toes poking into the picture. At 19:31 kakking sounds that seem as though they are flying around the building are heard, and this is presumably when C1 fledged and was steered by a parent back to the Cathedral of Learning. Some highlights from her last day on the cam was this funny family exchange, and a meal. This time, we hear sounds of begging off cam, but then C1 flies in with the food item, Hope follows, still wanting to take back the food and feed C1, and finally we see C1 leave the scrape for the last time. Farewell young falcon! It has been a great season, thank you to The National Aviary and Wild Earth for providing the live cam and these images.

C1 face to face with Terzo on 6/13/16
C1 face to face with Terzo on 6/13/16
What is C1 saying to Terzo? 6/14/16
What is C1 saying to Terzo? 6/14/16
C1 goes after Terzo's foot on 6/13/16
C1 goes after Terzo’s foot on 6/13/16

Because I am so late in providing this update I am able to tell you that Hope returned to the scrape and spent that night on cam, and then on the following day she spent many hours in the scrape. She examined the gravel, scraped depressions, and sunned herself. In the afternoon, Hope and Terzo manage to steal a moment together, to celebrate their successful season? to re-commit to each other?

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6/12/16 – Each time I see C1 in the scrape I wonder if it will be the last time I see her…then she returns again for a nap! It sure has been a treat to see her on cam for several long naps and we have been lucky enough to see her showing off some of her new skills! After she sends Terzo for take-out she shows off her fancy footwork! Later in the day Hope was watching over C1 when C1 starts acting silly and carrying on with amusing herself.  Images courtesy of The National Aviary and Wild Earth.

C1 stands tall on front perch at CoL on 6/12/16
C1 stands tall on front perch at CoL on 6/12/16
C1 shows off on 6/12/16
C1 shows off on 6/12/16

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6/11/16 – Well, H6 did it! the second eaglet from our next nest neighbors has fledged! Congratulations to the Hays pair on a successful season! And when all you empty-nesters need an eaglet fix, come on over to the Harmar cam and join us! The Harmar eaglets are three weeks younger than the Hays eaglets, we expect them to branch in about a week. Photo is my own from this April 22.

Congratulations to the Hays eagles on successfully fledging two eaglets!
Congratulations to the Hays eagles on successfully fledging two eaglets!

Also, C1 has been returning to the scrape to nap. Hope seemed to be guarding her for much of the day, I suspect due to the high and gusty winds. Although we did get to see some on-cam flight training! Images courtesy of The National Aviary and Wild Earth.

Hope and C1 napping in the scrape on 6/11/16
Hope and C1 napping in the scrape on 6/11/16

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6/10/16 – C1 has been getting more and more active, exploring the scrape, and looking longingly from the perches. She hasn’t forgotten to make time for some play, though! After spending a lot of time on the perches yesterday, C1 became very restless this morning. She hops on and off the perches, races about the nest box, and flaps her wings some more. She rests for a while, then C1 starts getting restless again! Finally, she has made her decision and heads out of the nest box, and off the cam. She has begun her ledge-walking exploration! She has plenty of space to explore atop the Cathedral of Learning. Weather permitting, you can head down to fledge watch with John English and/or Kate St. John (check KSJ events page) to watch for her to make her first flight. Image courtesy of Outside My Window and Kate St. John’s Cathedral of Learning snapshot cam.

C1 on ledge above nest box on 6/10/16
C1 on ledge above nest box on 6/10/16

Also, just in the nick of time, the Hays eaglet H5 fledged this evening. I predicted the first Hays eaglet would fledge first, then C1, then the second Hays chick…so we will see who goes next! Not to worry, the Hays adults are keeping an eye on H5, just after he left the nest, one of the adults flew in to the nest. You can see from these pictures that H5 was ready to go!  Images courtesy of PixController, ASWP, The National Aviary and Wild Earth.

H5 practices fleaping from the branch 6/3/16
H5 practices fleaping from the branch 6/3/16
H5 about to pounce on the food in H6's talons 6/3/16
H5 about to pounce on the food in H6’s talons 6/3/16
H5 gets a look at the world with no parents on the nest 3/22/16
H5 gets a look at the world with no parents on the nest 3/22/16

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6/6/16 – The falcon chick at the Cathedral of Learning, C1, is growing up fast, with just a few more days left before she fledges! Since I last wrote about her, C1 has been mantelling (part 1, part 2) her food regularly. Here is a funny sequence where Terzo brings food directly to C1, who mantels and self-feeds, eventually dragging the food out of the corner to eat and finish her meal where we can see better! Meanwhile Hope is off cam reacting noisily. Later, Hope brings food to the scrape and C1 takes it, then Hope picks up some scraps and lures C1 away from the fresh food, then hops over to snatch it up! The next day we see C1 about to snooze when she hears Hope and sets off her food alarm! She is allowed to feed some before Hope takes the food back to assist in the feeding.

C1 self-feeding on 6/2/16
C1 self-feeding on 6/2/16

Growing up is not all about the feeding though and we have been seeing C1 exercise more now too. This is a fun stage as she learns to amuse herself and play even without siblings to interact with. This play helps her to develop important skills for adulthood. Here is a cute clip of C1 practicing her moves!

C1 wingercizing on 6/2/16
C1 wingercizing on 6/2/16

Finally, earlier today, C1 reached another milestone, if only for a few brief minutes! C1 was in such a tizzy to get to the food Hope was bringing in that she finally made it up on to her ledge, where the perch is that lost its carpet cover. Later this afternoon C1 visited the perch again and stayed a while before returning to the scrape when Hope brought food. Soon we can expect the little falcon to be off cam exploring the area beneath the nest box and around the balcony! It’s a good thing she is preparing for her first flight, both physically and mentally; here she performs the sacred Feather Dance.

Hello C1! (on perch 6/6/16)
Hello C1! (on perch 6/6/16)

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6/5/16 – Well, sadly, the little Downtown Phoenix peregrine falcon chick who was exploring the ledge too early did slip and fall and eventually succumb to his injuries yesterday. I have to wonder if this chick was not out of the nest box early because of the alterations made to the nest box at the urging of the public. Intervention is a tricky thing, as often we don’t understand the full consequences of such actions until after we see the harm that was created. If peregrines choose to continue to use this nest box, maybe some alterations to raise the ledge will prevent the next chicks from getting out too early, but we never really can know exactly what a wild falcon wants in an urban nesting location. Maybe they prefer no barrier, as there would be in the wild? Without offering a variety of different nest boxes and locations to choose among, we don’t really know what the falcon would prefer. I am certainly curious to see what happens there in the future. Thank you to AZGFD for providing the cam, doing the best you could with the  situation, and keeping the public informed throughout this season and with this post:

For those wondering, at the examination yesterday it was determined the nestling was a male. AZGFD went to the nest site this morning to see what the parents might doing. In the hour that was spent looking, the female was seen perched on a high-rise close by at around 9:30 am. Another bird was seen perched later but was too far away to get an ID on which adult it was.

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6/4/16 – After the fun and excitement of the holiday weekend, the week began with a sad and bittersweet note on multiple levels. This is the way of nest cams, as this is wildlife, living wild lives, and it is a daily struggle.

First, knowing that the PAGC was planning to turn off the Hanover Eagle’s nest cam on June 1, I learned that the nest began to collapse on May 31st. It is a bittersweet ending, first a reproductive failure, then a nest failure as the cam is turned off…I wonder if we will be able to continue to follow this eagle pair in the future?

Hanover eagle's nest partially collapsed on 6/1/16
Hanover eagle’s nest partially collapsed on 6/1/16

Next, I learned the news that one of Tom and Audrey’s newly hatched osprey chicks was taken from the nest by a predator late in the evening on May 31st, but it was not evident that the chick was missing until the next morning. Cam watchers reported hearing a commotion (likely an owl), then Audrey responded by placing large sticks over the nest cup. We remained hopeful as there was still one egg remaining unhatched, but alas, on June 2 we saw Audrey remove the broken egg from the nest; there will be no siblings for the lone remaining osprey chick at Chesapeake Conservancy. However, the chick is certainly energetic and quite cute sporting its little mask. You can watch a feeding here: part 1, part 2.

Chesapeake Conservancy Osprey Family on 6/2/16
Chesapeake Conservancy Osprey Family on 6/2/16

However, this month also began with a bit of a peregrine falcon mystery for me. I have been keeping my eye on the little chick at the Downtown Phoenix Falcon Cam and I am surprised at the turn around this little chick has made. If you remember, this chick was struggling and needed leg braces (posts from 5/17, 18, and 23), but is growing fast and has reached a developmental milestone early, he has jumped up out of his nest box at 24 days old and began exploring the ledges around his nest box! By day 26, the chick is easily in and out of the box, which allows him to catch a cooling breeze after the sun sets. This chick is 9 days younger than C1 at the Cathedral of Learning, who is still trying to get on her ledge. I have to wonder if the reason the chick is able to get up on the ledge is because the AZGFD raised the floor by adding a turf carpet and a fresh layer of gravel after a public outcry over concerns that the flooring may related tot he chick’s splayed legs. The AZGFD intervened and the chick improved, but now we see a new problem: is the chick developed enough to safely explore its surroundings? We won’t know until we see what happens, but I suspect that the chick will be fine and knows to remain safely back from a place he can fall from, as these birds evolved by raising chicks on ledges with no railings to keep them from toppling over. For now, he returns to the nest box for feedings, or his parents will bring food to him.

Downtown Phoenix Falcon chick stands on ledge on 6/3/16
Downtown Phoenix Falcon chick stands on ledge on 6/3/16 (age 26 days)

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